Boko Haram Massacre: Baga survivors narrate ordeal

File: Baga after a Boko Haram attack
File: Baga after a Boko Haram attack

Survivors of the recent massacre by the Boko Haram in Baga, Borno State, have been narrating their ordeal.

PREMIUM TIMES had reported how the insurgents stormed Baga two days after the New Year, sacked soldiers of the Multi-National Joint Task Force, MNTJF, from their base stationed in the town, and killed hundreds of people with residents running for their lives.

Some of the Baga survivors have arrived the Borno State capital, Maiduguri, and are currently in a displaced persons camp, which is a newly completed housing estate built by the state government and named after Shettima Ali Monguno, Nigeria’s former Minister of Mines and Power.

While narrating his ordeal, Yahaya Takakumi, a 55-year-old farmer who lived in Doro-Baga for over 25 years, said he escaped with one of his wives when the insurgents attacked.

“I and one of my wives, who was able to escape with me, spent four days in the bush running for dear life and safety,” the farmer said. “I thank God I have arrived here safely but I still have not seen four of my children, my second wife and my elder brother who is a blacksmith in Baga.”

Mr. Takakumi said he fears for the life of his brother after hearing of other attacks.

“Some people said they saw my brother near Daban-Shata some days ago but everyone from that area said the Boko Haram gunmen had carried out a massive massacre of people in Daban-Shata and I fear for his life because only God can say the number of persons that got killed in that part of Baga district.

Survivors escaping Baga town. Tweeted images.
Survivors escaping Baga town. Tweeted images.
“We ran for days and we saw dead bodies especially on the Islands of Lake Chad where fishermen had settled; several persons were killed there like insects,” he said.

The survivor said the insurgents “would lay in ambush on the water path and once a boat on canoe comes with fleeing residents, they attack and shoot them all.

“The killings were not done in a day, but that of the first day was massive, both soldiers and our local people were killed; even after they had taking over Baga they kept on attacking other neighbouring villages in the following days.”

Another survivor, Ibrahim Gambo, told PREMIUM TIMES that he was still searching for his wife and daughter at the camp.

According to him, he was part of the vigilante, called Civilian-JTF, in Baga that initially confronted the Boko Haram gunmen before they were over powered.

“In Baga, almost every able-bodied male who is grown up and matured is a member of the vigilante; and most of us have charms that defy guns and bullet”, the 25-year-old truck driver said.

“That was why when the fighting started we were able to arrest many Boko Haram gunmen who we disarmed and even killed some that tried to resist us violently.”

Mr. Gambo said it was the intervention of the soldiers that made them withdraw their onslaught on the insurgents.

“We were actually making great inroad in dealing with the insurgents when the soldiers of the Multi-National Joint Task Force asked us to withdraw that an Air Force fighter jet would soon come,” he said. “Shortly after that, the Boko Haram stormed into Baga almost from all directions; shooting, killing at will. We had no choice than to join others to run.”

The survivor also narrated what he witnessed while escaping.

“We came across many dead bodies, some in groups and others by themselves in the bush; I saw dead children and women – and even a pregnant woman with her stomach slit open.

“We saw a large boat carrying over 25 persons and all of them shot dead; those whose bodies defy guns or bullets, would be tied up and dipped into the Lake water until they die”.

While speaking on the death toll, Mr. Gambo said he could not ascertain the casualty figure.

“All I know is that the death toll is well over 500 because I have seen several groups of killed villagers and the least of such group were five persons,” he said. “The number could be more because it was not all that fled from Baga that was able to make it to Maiduguri.”

Also speaking on the massacre, the District Head of Baga, Baba Abba Hassan, said the casualty was much but not up to 2000.

“Killing 2000 people is not a small number…2000 it is a very large number,” he said from the displaced persons camp.

“All I know as the District Head of Baga to whom most of my people report, hundreds of our people have killed by the Boko Haram and most of our communities on the island of the Lake (Chad) have been attacked and completely destroyed.

“But I cannot tell you the actual number of people killed because many were pursued to the bushes and killed…I can say hundreds have been killed so far. They include women and children,” he said.

He added that the terrorists, who have since taken over Baga and other nearby communities, were well prepared when they came attacking.

”They came with dozens of vehicles and first attacked the Multi-National Joint Task Force location,” he said. “There was resistance initially, especially by the Civilian-JTF but later, the insurgents had upper hand, especially when the armed soldiers had to start fleeing when there was not reinforcement.”

Mr. Hassan added that “hundreds of people are now taking refuge in Maiduguri while the Borno State government had been sending buses to the bushes to rescue the displaced that were trying to get to the city by foot.”

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  • growthengine

    Now that we all know that Boko haram is killing everyone, Christian and muslim, I think it is time for all good people to come together and fight for our lives. All this politics should be set aside. We must be united if we must win this war. The reason Chad and Niger pulled out may be due to our disunity. France is using unity as a weapon to galvanize its people against these terrorists.

    • Onike24

      Chad and Niger are the facilitators of BH! Cameroon is successfully fighting BH, why?

      • Otile

        I have seen the images of the young virgins in aljinat. Some of them are robbing their n*ps, and bodies on the strong jihadists. There’s plenty of red wine. If the images are what aljinat looks like, you bet more people will be beheaded before it is over.

        Have you see the images too?

        • Onike24

          I don’t watch Pornography.

  • Kokori

    No distractions pls!…Where is the certiPicate?

    • We are talking about 2000 dead and many more displaced and here you are talking about certificate. You are worse than Boko Haram.

    • Onike24

      2000 people slaughtered? And to you is a distraction?

      • Jujubeans

        Don’t mind him… He mirrors whom he serves… Not surprising at all.

      • Otile

        You know very well that those 2000 are sacrificial victims. They are slaughtered so that the jihadists will sleep with good virgins in aljinat.

  • warry

    No president can be stronger than his Army. We need to re equip the Army.

  • TAWANDA INCOMMUNICADO

    Is it not better for the north to renounce Sharia and revert to the peaceful common law . It is time to reject extremists and Islamic fundamentalism. Moderate Muslims must insist on this else the whole north will be extinct in a short time !!

    • Gideon Orkar

      There is a cancer at the heart of Islam and it is spreading. Rather than condemn it, the moderates always parrot “Islam is a religion of peace and there is no compulsion in Islam”, they will also point you to atrocities committed during the crusades.

      As far as I am concerned, they are all complicit.

  • Chris1408

    While all these killings were going on, our president was in happy mood, sipping champagne. It’s a sad day in Nigeria

  • Debekeme

    A people get the kind of leader they deserve. When we are ready for better leadership we will fight and demand for it!

    • TAWANDA INCOMMUNICADO

      I would rather think that the people who introduced political Islam into Nigeria are directly responsible for the scourge of Islamic terrorism wrecking havoc on the country as we speak !!

      • Debekeme

        I follow your comments across different social media. So i know your thinking.

        I wish you luck.

      • Rose

        And the president is supposed to sit and do nothing about the scourge in his neck of the woods? Perhaps you should tell us what action plans Jonathan have in place to deal the Boko Haram menace.

        • Gideon Orkar

          Same strategy as others around the world that are fighting the evil at the very heart of Islam. Go to Pakistan, Afghanistan, Yemen, Iraq, Syria, Iraq etc it is the same story. You are not dealing with a conventional army, they can strike at will and melt back into the civilian populace.

          • Rose

            What strategies are we talking about? It doesn’t appear to be working in Nigeria – anyway. It’s either those strategies are not in existence or they are poorly implemented. The crux of what am driving at is that the menace appears more exacerbated than ever. We need to start seeing some sort of positive results. Six years is an awful lot of time for Jona to get to grips with this hydra-headed problem.

          • TAWANDA INCOMMUNICADO

            Remove bias and you will agree that Islamic terrorism is a global phenomenon but the fact that in northern Nigeria Islam has always been exploited as a means of political control made it a very fertile ground for the anomaly to thrive.
            Why must we have Sharia when the common law we all used was working ? The exacerbation of Islamic terrorism is the domino effect of decades of the exploitation of the northern masses,it was bound to happen……. and trust me,Jonathan will come and go but the serial bouts of Islamic violence which started before he was born will continue unless the northerners choose the part of moderation in the practice of Islam…Sharia should be removed from the system !!

          • isilo

            You have just hit the nail on the head

          • Gideon Orkar

            It is hard to defeat a movement that is ideologically driven. The US has spent over $26 billion training the Iraqi army since after the Gulf war and what happened when ISIS showed? 4 divisions dropped their arms and fled. The Russians were defeated in Afghanistan just like the Yanks scuttled out of Iraq and have now resorted to firing missiles.

            Terrorism is a cancer we have to learn to live with and deal with. Our soldiers have even done better than those of Iraq and Syria. The Iraq army has 7 different countries providing them air support and they still can’t defeat ISIS. How many are supporting us again? None

          • Otile

            Stop responding to her with good explanations. She know very well that their men are fighting to sleep with good virgins in aljinat.

          • Rose

            You are just a dumb-dodo like your tin god. You had better stay focused on your hatchet job of defending the indefensible or else…….

          • lawan

            Rose cool down, these are vampires are happy when they hear of massive lose of life. All we can do is to pray and use our votes wisely.

          • Sammy Charles

            you are correct, don’t mind those pigs

      • emmy

        You are a moron. Terrorists are terrorists. Haven’t you learnt anything yet? Time without number you have been told that no religion preaches violence and you are using this media to cause problems between both faiths. These people are killing anyone irrespective of your religious background.

        • TAWANDA INCOMMUNICADO

          “JIHAD ” is violence on steroids ! I absolutely reject your name calling,I am no “moron” !!

  • Olusola

    So the local hunters were containing the insurgents when the Military came and asked them to withdraw for a jet that was never intended to come. How many more are to die before the government get serious?

    • Dbarshi

      Could it be that Boko Haram may have had an infiltrator who put out the lie that there was air force coming? I don’t like conspiracy theories, but it’s damn hard to understand what’s really happening there while we’re sitting at our desks twiddling our thumbs and moving on to the next new story.

  • Yusuf

    White man may not be wrong in calling black man an Animal, at least his own king sold him as a slave. Imagine 2000 people (muslim, christians, animists) being massacred in one day and all we can share on the news of their death is joy and insults. Maybe the white’s man assertion is statistical

    • Otile

      The disposed their own too to Australasia and Azania.

    • Proudly Niger Deltan

      2,000 dead and so what? Who is the APC candidate? Isn’t Buhari the one who said there would be blood spilled on the streets? …and such a blood thirsty clown is voted a presidential candidate and some Professors, lawyers and other idiots line up behind him as supporters. Why then do you fret over the death of 2,000 people? We are not a country and we know it! When we post truth here, PT & co delete our comments bcos they are allergic to it. But let me tell you my friend, the suppression of truth can only be ephemeral. We are not a country and we know it!…and that is why a bloody Oluwole like you will hide under a Yusuf to post rubbish. May God help continent Nigeria to break up into its real component countries as quickly as possible. Nonsense.

  • idn amin

    Survivors narrate their ordeal and boom! Boko Haram strikes a new location and boom! they become stale and survivors from the new location narrates their ordeal and on and on it goes.
    This is how the clueless media in conjunction with an ever corrupt Nigerian government fight terrorism that have gripped the country.
    It takes only courageous men and women who I believe are still out there to keep doing the good stuff we do in order to effect a change.

  • Okey

    Baga is a typical example of the war attrition politicians and their media backers are waging on Nigeria whilst deluding themselves that they waging war against Jonathan. Ihejirika dealt a serious blow against Boko Haram in Baga, Sen. Zanna went to Al Jazeera to say to “Jonathan is killing my people.” A presidential candidate followed by saying “Attack on those boys is attack on the North.” Now, Sen. Zanna’s “my people” (Boko Haram) are killing innocent people in Baga, the same Sen. Zanna went to foreign media to give account of how Jonathan did not come to their aide.